Is Morrisons giving away food as a marketing tactic?

Ok hear me out first, for years Morrisons have struggled, not having  an edge, always trailing behind the other supermarkets.

They have announced that they will give away unsold food; normally thrown away despite still been fit for consumption.

This new message provides Morrisons with something unique, until others follow that is.

They plan to appoint one member of staff in each of its 500 stores who will be responsible to liaise with volunteers from local food banks to arrange delivery of up to 4 trolley loads per week.

In France there is already legislation in place which forces supermarkets to give unsold food still fit for consumption to charities.

But Morrisons and other retailers have a long way to go before we catch up to our French counterparts.

With falling market share it’s a positive move by the retailer, and one which sends out positive PR, masking the negative press they’ve had lately.

Where can I find free stock images?

Good question, and assuming you’ve clicked here to find the answer! I’ve spent many years trawling through paid and free stock imagery websites for hours and hours trying to get hold of the perfect image. Getting the right stock photo can sometimes be the difference between a good web page and a fantastic web page. Trying to find good, free photos can be a nightmare, but there are some good resources out there.

Here are 3 fantastic (and free) stock photo websites

I wanted to share my top three resources for free stock images. These are the ones I use myself for this website and any client sites.

Pixabay

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Photo from Pixabay

Pixabay is a site I only discovered recently but now use all the time. Most of the time stock images look like stock images, but if you have to use stock images you want them to be of a certain quality.

Freeimages

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Photo from Freeimages

Another site I use all the time, Freeimages have a searchable database of good quality free stock images.

Picography

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Photo from Picography

If you’re looking for quality food and drink images, or abstract photography, Picography is a great resource.

For a number of years I used iStock, they’re expensive and still found myself trawling pages and pages for the right image. Before using any free photo from the above websites you should check out the licensing, some photos will require attribution to the owner.

Photo attribution and licenses

When you’re looking for photographs to use for a design, online or offline, you should check the copyright licence before using it. In most cases photos are covered by copyrights. Never do a Google image search and use one from there, otherwise you could be in for a legal battle.

Photo copyright licence

Here are two license types you’re likely to find on the website listed above:

Creative Commons zero 

You can use the photos in any way you want, you don’t need permission or to credit the photographer.

Creative Commons with attribution

You can use the photo in any way you want, but you must credit the photographer or owner of the image.

To add an attribution, simply add the text “Photo by John Smith” (if the photographer is called John Smith!) you can also link the text to their website if they have one.

It’s important to check the licence of each individual photo you use for specific details.

Does ad-blocking software mean the end of online advertising?

Advertising revenue underpins about 90% of everything we see on the internet; which is all free for us to browse and use. With the increasing use of ad blocking programs, there is a real threat to this economic model.

Imagine you had to start paying to view content on all websites?

Apple recently allowed its Safari browser on iPhone and iPad to block ads through the use of third-party software extensions. Ad blocking software has been around for some time and is a common add-on on most desktop browsers. But with Apple rolling this out it’s an even bigger threat to advertisers.

An end of online advertising as we know it

Advertising revenue aids the development of the internet and most ads served are usually relevant to the content of the web page, so what’s the problem?

Some websites seem a little greedy, with far too many ads; popping up, taking over the home page, sneaking out on you when you least expect it, and generally making the website load really slow. In my experience the local newspapers seem to be the main culprit here. Ads shouldn’t be intrusive or invasive.

We are used to free internet content, it’s taken for granted, and subscription-based paywall services have only succeeded for specialist and well established publications.

Is this the end of the ‘free internet’?

No. It means publishers (including me) have to be smarter, and use different advertising techniques such as sponsored content, advertorials, branded pages etc.

Most publishers and advertisers are already using social media to out-reach their content and engage with consumers, content which is entertaining and shareable will provide clicks.

However, branded content is essentially biased, which means the line between factual, impartial content and sponsored, advertorials become blurred, and could mislead consumers.

Survival of the fittest

It is just another shift, which means adapting to change. For bigger publishers such as news and magazines who were traditional print publications, the internet came along which was a big disruptor to their business model. The ones that survived were the ones who adapted to this change.

The future is here #BackToTheFutureDay

Wednesday 21st October 2015, the date Marty McFly arrives in Doc Browns time travelling DeLorean to discover a future of flying cars, hover boards, and self-drying jackets.

I, along with every other Back to the future fan have been waiting 26 years for this day, and here it is, the future.

So how much of Back to the future part 2 did the film makers get right?

Tech start-up firm Arx Pax is about to ship the first real-life hover boards. Funded on Kickstarter the Hendo Hoverboard works using magnetic levitation. However, this years must have Christmas toy is predicted to be the Swegway, it’s like a Segway but without the handle.

Nike announced a while ago that it would be selling its self-lacing trainers, as worn by Marty in the film.

Pepsi have realised limited additions of ‘Pepsi Perfect’, like the one Marty McFly bought in Cafe 80’s. The company are making only 6,500 collector’s edition bottles priced at around £13, although the drink inside is regular Pepsi.

In 1989, the web browser was still a year away from being invented and a mobile phone was the size of a small family car.

Although the film makers didn’t set out to accurately predict the future, they did foresee flat screen TVs, tablet computers, and video conferencing, all of which featured in the film. As did a drone like object; taking photos outside the courthouse for USA today.

The film also predicts voice recognition, and video games without the need of a controller.

I am however eagerly awaiting the release of Jaws 19.

5 top tips for making your website work better for you

If you’re a small business, this is for you. I’m going to give you my 5 top tips for making your website work better for you.

Call to actions

My first tip is Call to actions, the call to action on your site depends on what action you want your visitors to take; contact you, subscribe, or buy online. Look at your website objectively and ask yourself “is it easy for a visitor to the next step?”

Content

Content is key to achieving better SEO, and quality content will keep your audience engaged and informed so they will be more likely to visit your site again or buy from you.

Keep your existing content up to date, make sure its relevant per webpage; the home page should really be a brief introduction to who you are and a signpost to different parts of your website.

My advice is create a content calendar, keep adding to the calendar and make sure you have a steady stream of new content added weekly to your website.

Social media is a good way to out-reach new content, check out this earlier post…

Internal linking

Internal linking is good for SEO but it can also provide a journey for your visitors, if there are specific terms used within a web page and you have expanded on that with content elsewhere in your site, make it a link. A good page to do this on is an FAQs page, link keywords to specific service area pages or product pages, this way you can help guide a user into taking an action or making a purchase.

Collect data

If you’re not doing this already, do it today, start collect data. Always ask for an email address, ask visitors to subscribe to your mailing list, take an email address from people who make an enquiry or buy from you. This will quickly build into a database of both customers and potential customers who you can then market to.

Analyse traffic

Analyse your website traffic, using Google analytics (which is free) you can keep an eye on the number of visitors, where they find you, where they drop off… so you can make better decisions for new content or website improvements.

Why online video should be part of your content strategy

Online video has continued to grow year on year; primarily since the dawn of YouTube.

Video is a far easier way to absorb information compared with reading, and is quickly becoming a key means for people to satisfy their information and entertainment needs.

According to Cisco by 2017, 69% of all consumer internet traffic will be driven by video content.

Video is the future of content marketing, with many companies already using video as part of their strategy.

So how can you get in on the action?

Making a video doesn’t have to be a major Hollywood production, a basic video using your phone camera and uploading to YouTube means the cost can be next to nothing, but getting it right requires effort.

There are 5 steps to making a good video:

  1. Preparation: Prepare a good script, keep it to the point and make it exciting for the viewer. Start with a short introduction and get to the main point as quickly as possible otherwise people will switch off.
  2. Your studio: If an iPhone is all you have that’s fine, make sure the background is appropriate and you have good lighting – shooting outside is always good but can be a problem if you don’t have a microphone.
  3. Sound quality: I wouldn’t recommend shooting your video next to a main road. It really depends what your video content is about but the quieter the background noise the better.
  4. The right message: Along with a good script you need a good presenter, just because Bob from accounts is the life and so of the party doesn’t mean he is great in front of the camera. Take a few takes from different angles to mix in the post production.
  5. Post production: Measured in jolts per minute (JPM) the TV and film industry ensure there is enough going on to keep the viewer engaged. The attention span of most people is short so keep them focused. Use differnt camera angles and include scenic shots or product shots where appropriate.

Finally upload to YouTube or a video hosting platform such as Vimeo and embed into your website or blog. And be sure to share it through your social media channels to get people watching and sharing.

YouTube has more than one billion unique visitors every month, and because it’s owned by Google, it has a positive impact on your SEO strategy too.

I have worked on TV ads and online video for a number of clients, if you would like help with your video content marketing strategy, get in touch.

A bit more about me…

I grew up in a world of taking photos with film; with no viewing and deleting; snap and hope for the best. Once the 24 photos had been taken the film was removed from the camera and then taken to the Chemist, and three days later the photos were ready for collection.
Photos of your food and cute pets had to be posted through the letterbox of your friends back then, and ‘liking’ was done verbally. Today we have digital cameras and Facebook so this process is much quicker!

Hello, I’m Peter Wilson, director at ZUST, husband, and dad of three. Interested in marketing, advertising, technology, and gadgets.
I have worked in marketing for over 17 years, starting out as a Web Designer back in the late 90’s, I saw the potential of the web. It has changed the way we live, work, socialise, and do business.

I recently resurrected my blog after deciding to work for myself. I have no ambitious grand plans to take over the world or to become the next Bill Gates, but have an entrepreneurial drive to succeed. Having the flexibility of working for myself and running my ‘own show’ is great. It’s a lifestyle business, which allows me to earn enough whilst being able to spend quality time with the people I love, doing the things I love.

I have a passion for helping small businesses develop a marketing strategy, whether it’s lead generation and helping to acquire more customers or online sales; the process is very similar.

If you want to discuss how I can help you please call me on 07944278860 or visit ZUST.

Connect with me
    

Can Bebo revive its success?

In 2008 Bebo was the 3rd most popular social network. The founders, husband and wife team Michael and Xochi Birch sold the website for $850m to AOL. It was dubbed the worst dotcom deals of all time.
Facebook and Twitter became the social networks of choice and Bebo soon faded away.
In 2013 the founders bought back the site for just $1m (you do the maths) and are busy planning its comeback.

The proposition of Bebo is changing, it is less of a social platform like Facebook and more of an app based service like What’s app.

Three new apps are being launched around chat and gaming, although I don’t think they innovative or unique enough to gain the momentum of what Bebo once was.

Like Geocities, Tripod, Excite and Yahoo! Bebo is a relic of the internet of yesteryear.

How to use #hashtags correctly

I’m always amazed at seeing random hashtags, ones which don’t really serve any purpose whatsoever.

If you want to create a direct response tweet, and you want your audience to engage with you, don’t use a hash tag, or use just one, a relevant one.

Hashtags are a way to take part in conversations, join in with a topic such as an event, a topical news article, a TV programme etc

DON’T #spam #with #hashtags!

Twitter’s best practice guide suggests to use no more than 2 hashtags per tweet.

Rules on the use of hashtags:
1. Use them to broaden the reach of your brand. Use existing hashtags and add value to an existing conversation.

2. Do not use too many, nobody wants to read a tweet full of # which are all clickable

3. Do not group too many words. Unless it’s an established hashtag already being used. But #itsoneofthosedays is an awful way to use the hashtag

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A hashtag should be a relevant search term or capturing a trending topic, #gettingmarried will never achieve this. It isn’t going to be relevant to existing followers, nor is it going to attract new followers.

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7 hashtags! It’s very noisy and the hashtags make it too busy for users to read it, take it all in and act.
It is a direct response tweet, with the intention of users to click on the link. A better tweet would be:

From boutique hotels to quaint and friendly guesthouses, #York has something for you. Search now for a great deal: http://bit.ly/YExMHJ

By using just one hashtag, #York, and making it personal by using ‘you’ it provides an easy to read tweet with a clear call to action.

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A perfect example of a direct response tweet from Visit London, question, solution to the problem, simple call to action. Easy to read, no noise and straightforward.

How to use direct response marketing on social media

The objective of direct response marketing; whether it’s television, newspaper or social media has the same objective and operates in the same way. It’s about communicating a solution to a problem, and providing a clear call to action; anything else is just noise.

Creating direct response ads on Twitter or other social channels can be a great way to attract clicks, and ultimately sales.

Question > Solution > Call to action

First the question, something which grabs the attention of your audience. E.g ‘Is your social marketing working for you?’

The solution, which should be a direct response to the question. E.g ‘download our free ebook on social media marketing success’.

The call to action should be simple, a link (which is trackable, for ROI purposes).

The simplicity of this method works because there is no noise within the message.

Avoid using Twitter #hashtags or including people, this is extra noise which can cause distraction.

If you followed my tweet to this article I used the same methodology:
Want to know how to create a direct response tweet? read my blog to find out now (call to action link).
Question, solution (with an urgency to it) and link to the article, simple.